Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Collective failure led to England’s demise.

Dejecte England players at full-time following the Round of 16 match at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, South Africa on June 27, 2010. UPI/Chris Brunskill Photo via Newscom

England’s crushing and ultimately humiliating exit from the World Cup was the result of critical failure from all levels of the national game.

It is still fashionable to blame the manager for the Three Lions failure, but as each manager comes and goes - with the same problems remaining - we are now waking up to the fact that serious changes need to be made if we are to re-build the England team.

That is not to say Fabio Capello is blameless. His strict and authoritative approach went completely out of the window in the run up to the tournament. It seemed like he had a look at the squad and panicked, resulting in some bizarre team selections that went against his wise policy of only picking fit and in-form players. During the tournament when things went wrong his stubborn refusal to change the formation made England look dated and rigid. But when people mention Harry Redknapp as a replacement and keep a straight face, it is critical Capello keeps the job as there is no just one better qualified out there at the moment.

The Italian has also been failed by the system had has had to work with. The Premier League has been a huge commercial success and brought enormous benefits to the English game. But it has now got out of control and has become a profit hungry monster threatening to eat away at our national team.

England manager Fabio Capello looks dejected during the Round of 16 match at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, South Africa on June 27, 2010. UPI/Chris Brunskill Photo via Newscom

For starters the influx of foreign players has limited the development of young players. It has been quotes that Capello has only 40% of Premier League players available to be selected for England, just no good enough for a league of that strength.
For those who are considered good enough the long and physical nature of the league means they suffer burnout by the end of the season. What else would explain the side’s great form at the turn of the year but dismal showing from March onwards?

The money flowing into the league has also produced the most pampered arrogant and self obsessed generation of footballers ever produced. The apparent unrest in the camp, the chaotic build up (including the sacking of Terry for his err..indiscretions) is a sign of a bunch of players out of control and who put their own self interest ahead of their national team. The reaction of Wayne Rooney, himself one of the biggest disappointments, after the Algeria game showed how out of touch they are with public opinion.

England will always produce good players. We are a football mad country with plenty of top class academies and scouting system ready to pick out the vest talent. But once players enter the Premier League treadmill they find themselves on a system that is not longer focused on the England team, but profit. When the players are spat out at the other end those who have actually made it have become a jaded, over-paid shadow of their younger selves, who turn out lifeless performances like we have just seen in South Africa.

You can’t blame Capello or the 4-4-2 formation for that.

First published at Premiership Talk

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